Wigan dog owner walks free from court

RSPCA officers Louise Showering and Anne-Marie Atherton who dealt with the case against Deborah Eaves and Eric Smith at Wigan magistrates court
RSPCA officers Louise Showering and Anne-Marie Atherton who dealt with the case against Deborah Eaves and Eric Smith at Wigan magistrates court
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A WIGAN woman has escaped jail after being convicted of four animal welfare offences after she left 14 pets in the care of a man who had been banned from keeping animals.

Deborah Eaves, 47, of Smithwood Avenue, Hindley, was given an 18-week custodial sentence, suspended for one year, plus 150 hours of community service after magistrates found her guilty of failing to provide a clean environment for her five cats and three of her nine dogs.

She was also found guilty of failing to ensure six of the pets were safe from hazards as she left them in the care of Eric Smith, 40, of York Road, Hindley, while she went on a two-week holiday.

She was also forced to give up her dogs, was banned from keeping animals for five years and must pay £250 towards court costs.

When sentencing Eaves, magistrates stated that evidence shows that some of the pets had been malnourished longer than the two-week period she was away.

Justices at Wigan Magistrates’ Court also ordered Smith, who had been banned from keeping pets from 2005-10, to complete a six-month New Directions Activity Requirement order and to pay £250 costs.

He was also banned from keeping animals for three years.

On September 22 last year, animal welfare officers found a German shepherd in the back garden of Eaves’ home, six dogs locked in a cramped pen and a newborn puppy, confined to the kitchen.

Two cats and three kittens were also discovered in a cluttered outdoor shed. Two of the kittens were in such poor condition that they had to be put down. The yard also contained a large pile of faeces and a sharp section of metal fencing.

After discovering nobody had visited the house for at least 48 hours, all 14 animals were seized and placed into boarding accommodation.

Before sentencing, Bill Pearson, defending Eaves, said: “Eaves was found guilty after the trial, but maintains she does not feel responsible.

“She entrusted the care of the animals to others and she felt let down.

“She considers herself an animal lover and had always had a dog by her side for companionship and reassurance. The greatest punishment would be to lose her pets.”

Bob Topping, defending Smith, added: “Smith was entrusted with the care of the dogs, but his back started played up and he didn’t go to the house.”